Wednesday's Frosty Mug

Some things to read while starting a new trend.

We've waited, we've waited, we've taken a break to watch the Super Bowl and then waited some more, and the moment is finally here: Today, Brewer pitchers and catchers report to Maryvale and the 2011 season is underway. Here's our first collection of spring training notes:

It's possible we'll have big news yet today or tomorrow: Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Brewers and Rickie Weeks are discussing a long term deal, somewhere between three and five years. If the two sides are going to work out a deal they'd most likely want to get it done before Weeks' arbitration hearing tomorrow.

If the two sides are unable to reach a deal, signs point towards Weeks having a good chance of winning his arbitration hearing. One of his comparable players, Diamondbacks 2B Kelly Johnson, avoided arbitration by signing a $5.85 million deal yesterday. That's $250,000 above the midpoint between his $6.5 million request and the team's $4.7 million offer.

If the rumors do turn out to be correct and the Brewers are considering giving Weeks a five year deal, odds are we'll have this conversation in depth multiple times later this week: Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar looks at the perils of committing that much money to a player with a history of health issues.

Of course, Weeks could be well worth the money if he stays healthy: Larry Dobrow of CBS Sports listed Weeks as baseball's 49th best player for the 2011 season. Ryan Braun (#14) and Prince Fielder (#18) also made the list, while Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke missed the cut.

If he's not already there, Shaun Marcum should be one of the Brewers reporting to Maryvale for the first time today. David Wade of The Hardball Times has a look at Marcum's traditionally low WHIP, and makes a case for it to continue.

As has typically been the case this winter, Yuniesky Betancourt is the rain on our sunny day: Beyond the Box Score notes that Betancourt has made 3057 career plate appearances but still has fewer walks (104) than Barry Bonds' IBB total from 2004.

In the minors: Today's Prospect Madness matchup at Bernie's Crew features Logan Schafer and Josh Butler.

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported to camp, we have a couple of weeks to kill before spring training games start. If you're looking for something to do this Friday, the Milwaukee Admirals are giving away Bob Uecker bobbleheads.

Speaking of bobbleheads, you have until 6 pm today to sign up to win a prize package featuring a Prince Fielder bobblehead from the Nashville Sounds. You can also still sign up to win four sets of undated ticket vouchers from the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Congratulations to RahRahBullCrap, who won a Huntsville Stars autographed baseball in yesterday's drawing.

This week's edition of A Simple Kind of Fan is a bit navel-gazing, but contains a valid point: Proofreading your own work is hard. Thankfully, I have you to re-proofread my stuff for me: Nothing keeps my ego in check quite like being told about what I got wrong every day.

Around baseball:

Cubs: Acquired pitcher Robert Coelle from the Red Sox for a minor leaguer.
Mets: Signed pitcher Jason Isringhausen to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Designated pitcher Luis Atilano for assignment.
Phillies: Claimed pitcher Brian Schlitter off waivers from the Yankees and designated pitcher Andrew Carpenter for assignment.

Today in former Brewers:

Before pitchers and catchers report, it's important that we establish some groundrules: Dayn Perry of NotGraphs tackled an important topic: When you are (or are not) allowed to refer to a team as "we."

One of the things I intended to do this offseason but didn't make happen was a crowdsourced BCB Travel Guide. I suppose it still could happen at some point. In the meantime, Beyond the Box Score has some charts you should see if you're planning on hitting the road this season.

Here are today's spring training slices of life:

Today's coolest sabermetric note: Mike Fast of Baseball Prospectus has a look at the role of the catcher in determining whether or not pitches will be called strikes.

On this day in 1980, Brewer coach Harvey Kuenn had his right leg amputated below the knee after four unsuccessful attempts to remove a blood clot. Kuenn, a West Allis native and UW-Madison alum, would go on to manage the Brewers in 1982 and '83, going 160-118 and making the franchise's only World Series appearance.

With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to 1975-76 Brewer Bobby Darwin, who turns 68.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a tennis match to finish.

Drink up.

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